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Kingsman: The Golden Circle is charming, but lacks the action you expect

Matthew Vaughn’s franchise already feels a little stagnant
Taron Egerton as Eggsy
[Photo: 20th Century Fox]

'Kingsman: The Golden Circle'

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Stars: Taron Egerton, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Julianne Moore, Pedro Pascal, Halle Berry, Jeff Bridges, Channing Tatum, Elton John.

Rating: R

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2.5 (Out of 5) Globes

Plot: Set a year after “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” Eggsy Unwin (Taron Egerton) has now taken the place of his former mentor Harry Hart (Colin Firth), even inheriting his title of Galahad. However, the return of an old foe with inside knowledge on the Kingsman, who has teamed up with the notorious criminal mastermind and renowned drug dealer Poppy Adams (Julianne Moore), puts the English secret agency in jeopardy. So much so that Eggsy and Merlin (Mark Strong) have to travel Stateside to link up with their American counterparts, which includes Whiskey (Pedro Pascal), Tequila (Channing Tatum), Ginger Ale (Halle Berry) and Champ (Jeff Bridges), so they can bring the villains down.

“Kingsman: The Golden Circle” is undeniably a crowd-pleaser. Mathew Vaughn not only injects the film with an arresting swagger but also, alongside cinematographer George Richmond, makes sure that the viewer can always clearly see what’s going on, deploying a bright color palette and smooth, singular shots to keep you mesmerized. But the script and actors have a lot to offer, too: Vaughn and Jane Goldman’s script is peppered with quips and one-liners, the role-reversal of Eggsy and Harry always delivers, and the hugely talented cast clearly revel in the material provided. But, overall, “The Golden Circle” just feels like an already stagnant rehash of the original. It mostly pales next to its predecessor, though, because Julianne Moore and Edward Holcroft can’t hold a candle to Sofia Boutella and Samuel L. Jackson. Disappointingly, none of its action or set-pieces leave you breathlessly excited. It's enjoyable enough, but when Elton John’s admittedly hilarious cameo is the best thing about a film, you know something is a little off.